The advantages of APIs.
Getting connected in a better way really offers great value.Application Program Interfaces, or APIs, are quite simply great ways for two businesses to get connected. APIs allow the capabilities of one computer program to be used by another. They are a means by which two different programs are able to communicate.
For example, suppose a manager wants to use a payments solution. His IT staff can hook up to the payment system’s API, and then extract the data they need from it to connect their office system to it.
This saves an enormous amount of time and cost for systems integration. Would you believe that companies globally spend $389 billion in integration processes, in other words, just connecting one application to another,
the consultancy Connecting Software? This is actually more than they spend on acquiring the software itself!
The power of API’s is such that, using APIs as building blocks, Uber was able to go to market far more quickly and nimbly than its competitors. “What’s more, in August 2014, Uber launched a publicly-accessible API that would become the foundation for their digital ecosystem, allowing companies like OpenTable, Google and United Airlines to embed Uber into their apps. It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement: Uber reaches more customers and establishes new revenue streams, while app providers like United Airlines, Open Table, Google Maps and others can offer a transportation service to their customers and profit from it at the same time,” according to a recent article.
How do API’s work?
APIs consist of three parts:
- User: the person who makes a request
- Client: the computer that sends the request to the server
- Server: the computer that responds to the request
API’s don’t, of course, provide access to the entire app – that would make it very easy for programmers to replicate the entire app. Instead, APIs make some of their application’s data available to the public, by exposing endpoints, just a small part of the program, but enough so that others can use it to connect. Data is pulled from the API by building URLs or using HTTP clients.
APIs allow companies to move into new markets easily, and at reduced cost. Joining forces with other companies offers opportunities to expand revenue, as the Uber example shows.
APIs in healthcare
Today, APIs are opening up new markets in healthcare.
For example, through APIs, IBM joined up with firms in oncology care. IBM’s APIs have connected Elsevier and its expansive archive of studies on oncology care to both the medical expertise of Sloan Kettering and its AI application Watson. IBM can now provide physicians and nurse practitioners with information on symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment approaches, as the Harvard Business Review reports.
Healthcare organizations face challenges accessing and sharing data, especially as healthcare IT infrastructure migrates to the cloud, and digital information becomes an industry standard. Different data sets use different formats, making interoperability between apps challenging, according to one expert.
Healthcare data today is no longer in one fixed format. Information arriving from a number of different places in different forms, and there will always be a need to work with systems that handle that. Because APIs are the points of communication between systems, they are being developed to simplify interoperability to provide healthcare professionals and users data more efficiently.
Mulesoft, a software company specializing in API solutions, points out that a growing number of healthcare providers and many other companies in the healthcare industry are making creative use of APIs. They are finding uses for web and mobile apps to deliver vital information to patients; to work more intelligently with partner providers, patient support services, insurance companies, and government agencies and to use their data resources in new ways.
APIs allow healthcare companies to do all these things — while inspiring innovative developers to create new healthcare applications, improve existing services, and work more efficiently.
But Mulesoft point out that healthcare environments deploy an ever more complicated mix of technologies, systems, applications, and processes to serve patients and physicians and to solve organizational challenges. As many of these are legacy systems becoming ever more inefficient as they age, they are often not interoperable with newer technologies.
To make these diverse environments work together, a skilled and experienced outsourcing provider can intervene with great success. PointData, one such outsourcing provider, can enable pharmaceuticals firms to manage data successfully.
PointData API opens door to contract and rebate management
Healthcare companies, including biotech, med tech, medical device manufacturers, today are faced with a vast amount of unstructured data in the contracts and rebates process. Different rosters from healthcare providers require the management of a mass of data, which has to be cleaned for operability and updated regularly.
Thanks to PointData’s API connection for these companies, the process of managing roster data can be outsourced seamlessly as our proprietary solutions are connected up quickly. This makes it easy to quickly modify which GPOs, IDNs and even which websites are accepted by a given partner. Yet all this data can be modified in real time by PointData right in the customer’s data portal, rapidly and easily, via our API with customers databases updated in real time.
Data from rosters is structured, cleaned and enriched so that is can be validated by third-party sources, and then put to work by the pharmaceuticals company. Our real-time management saves your company significant amounts of time and money.
Similarly, rebates management involves working with a large number of stakeholders and with extensive data on the pharmaceuticals value chain. Our platform, connected via our API, can take over rebates management, keeping track of payments and related data. This saves time and money and enables more effective profiting from rebates.
At the same time, PointData can help all these companies adapt to the fast-evolving processes involved in contract and rebates management, providing consulting for contracting, process improvement, along with strategic, organizational and system design assessment and improvement.